names vs. "names"

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Wed Feb 9 15:26:45 CST 2005

From: Charles Hussey <c.hussey at NHM.AC.UK>
> In reply to Paul van Rijckevorsel:
> We are beginning (just beginning) to enjoy the possibility of tapping into
a huge information resource as primary published sources, observation
records and specimen records become accessible on-line, through the results
of digitisation programmes.


> As Arthur Chapman likes to remind us; there are errors in every database
(a careful survey of a large botanical database in the UK, revealed 2 errors
in every record!).

That is a lot higher than I would have hoped
* * *

> Cleaning up large datasets is a lengthy business (but do see Arthur
Chapman's papers on the GBIF website on Data Quality and Data Cleansing, as
there are some automated methods available,

I note he is remarkably reticent about vernacular names. The only thing he
mentions is the very small subset of "standardized common names". Obviously,
vernacular names are beyond him (actually they will be beyond any one
person, a separate expert will be needed for each and every language)

BTW: his remark about the age of "Biological Codes" is highly amusing!
* * *

> and is compounded by the
fact that Natural Science curators like to maintain verbatim records of
their label data -

Obviously they like that, and a good thing too.
Label data are of prime importance.
This should not get in the way of databasing?
* * *

> so I think that we have to accept that odd names will be
around on-line for ever. Try a search on Google for known mis-spelling of
taxonomic names - they are out there,

In fact they are extremely common. If you want a challenge you should search
for a scientific name that is more commonly misspelled than correctly
spelled. It does happen.
* * *

and will be difficult to eradicate.

Make that: "impossible to eradicate"
* * *

> If you wish to get at all available information relating to an organism,

I'd rather have the relevant information and eliminate the "white noise"
* * *

> then you have to know about synonyms

* * *

and archaic names (for vernacular names).

Only those that refer to relevant information

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